One of the values we hold at the Peace Learning Center is respect.
Respect is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “understanding that someone or something is important, and should be treated in an appropriate way.” When we respect ourselves, we decide we deserve to be treated well. We decide we deserve to be treated kindly. When we respect ourselves, we also acknowledge the way we would like be treated. Not everyone will give you the respect you deserve, but there’s nothing stopping you from giving others respect.
Although perspectives differ, backgrounds vary, and not every opinion is agreeable, everyone deserves to be given respect. You do not have to agree with every opinion you hear, but you also do not have to start an argument over it. When you give someone respect, you’re giving them space to voice their opinions. Nobody should have to keep their voice down. Your voice is a part of who you are, your voice allows you to convey who you are, and nobody should ever be deprived of being true to him/herself.
When you give someone respect, you give them a platform for confidence. It can give someone the confidence he/she did not have before; the confidence to say what is on their mind, the confidence to do what is right or even the confidence to openly give someone else respect. Here at the Peace Learning Center we encourage respect, we help to build the platform for the voice inside to be kindly shared. In our groups, we exercise how to listen with respect and how to respond with respect. Respect is a two way street, and when one person gives respect, it allows for the other person to return it.